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Ron Kaye: Eyeing the propositions

October 06, 2012

With absolute certainty, I am prepared a month before the election to predict the outcome in California: President Obama will carry the nation's largest state and Democrats will maintain dominance in both houses of the state Legislature.

Of course everybody but the most ardent and optimistic partisan knows that since our general elections are more confirmations of the status quo than choices about which direction to take for our future.

Sure, an unusually popular Republican could still win a state office now and again, even the governorship; but it's going to take a political earthquake to shake things up.

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Your vote still matters, though, and so do your values when it comes to the 11 ballot propositions that could raise taxes, bar unions from using payroll-deducted funds for politics, ban the death penalty, limit the three-strikes law to serious third offenses and so much more — or less, depending on your point of view.

There's even a measure that would make require labeling of genetically engineered foods — well at least some of them — so consumers will know they are not what nature created all by herself.

It is all very confusing, especially when you are bombarded with totally misleading ads and mailers that have little or nothing to do with what is on the ballot.

Lesson No. 1 in politics is “follow the money” and www.maplight.org makes that a lot easier to do. You can see who benefits and who gets hurt and how much they care. Top contributors to each of the 11 measures as of Sept. 30 are online at http://votersedge.org/california/ballot-measures/2012/november.

Take the governor's sales and income tax increase plan, Proposition 30, which has attracted nearly $16 million from teachers and school employees and $6.5 million from the Service Employees International Union — which contributed to its total donor tally of a $41.3 million. Meanwhile, opponents generated just $3.1 million, among them, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. and small businesses, which could only find $1.4 million to oppose it.

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